Sonia Leigh

Where most artists put themselves in a box, Sonia Leigh maintains an individuality that is so liberating it extends beyond genre and ventures into a new world of self expression.

From her country upbringing to her rebellious city lifestyle, changes have always been a catalyst for creativity. With past success writing songs for Zac Brown Band and touring across the world with country rockers like Eric Church, it seems that a chapter has been closed and a new one open in her story. Sonia’s most recent projects experiment with new sounds and collaborators, as her music develops into an ever-changing narrative on the human experience.

From Nashville to Los Angeles, from Atlanta to the UK and back - There is no boundary to her musical reach. As an independent artist, she finds comfort in the idea of creating her own opportunity and refining her craft. Still on the move and still changing, Sonia prepares for the release of her next solo record and a dark grunge pop project in 2017. Bringing light into her own darkness, she evokes deliverance and self discovery with
every word.

Mando Saenz

If you read the liner notes on Nashville’s biggest albums, you’ll come across a name that is impossible to mistake: Mando Saenz. He’s become one of the most notable songwriters in country music and is establishing a sound uniquely his own. Hailing from Texas, Saenz is able to balance outlaw influences with melodic harmonies that are destined to be stuck in your head. There’s no question as to why he has over 50 cuts from some of today’s biggest artists (like Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert). If there’s one thing that is definite about Mando Saenz, it’s his ability to be completely versatile, yet uniquely Mando.

From the age of three months old, Saenz lived the nomadic life of a self-described ‘army brat’. After his father joined the military, his family moved from his birthplace of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, to Fort Bragg, North Carolina; shortly after, to San Francisco, and lastly, to a small town in Oklahoma, before finally settling in Corpus Christi — all before the beginning of his fourth grade year. Around the same age, he began taking guitar lessons but didn’t stick with it. However, after a decade-long hiatus, Saenz picked the instrument back up again as a teen with a much different mindset. “I was kind of an MTV kid, so I was influenced by anything that was popular at the time. But my dad was always playing The Eagles, Bob Dylan, a bunch of the classics. I didn’t start getting into Texas music until college.”

It was then, while studying for an MBA in San Antonio, Texas, that a shy Saenz finally started playing in front of his peers. After college, he moved to Houston where his brother Marco owned a recording studio, AZTLAN studios. Soon after, he met his mentor (and future producer of his debut record, Watertown) John Egan, who convinced him to ditch his job at Whole Foods to focus on his music. “It was a good time to be a musician in Houston. A lot of us, like Hayes Carll and John Evans, were there together. I was in inner-city Houston, and it was just so cool—huge and unlike anywhere I’d ever lived.” The city would also become the place where Saenz would be discovered by Frank Liddell, award-winning producer and owner of Carnival Music.

After signing on as one of Carnival’s first musicians to possess both a publishing and recording deal, Saenz began writing full-time and eventually released Watertown. The 2005 album marked a pivotal time in Saenz’ life, “The first record was influenced by Texas and made in Texas, by a Texas producer, all of which you can definitely hear.” However, even as a deep-rooted Texan, Saenz started to feel the pull between work and home. So in 2006, he decided to pack up and move closer to Carnival headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee — where he started working on his sophomore album with Grammy-nominated producer R.S. Field, Bucket. While the album supported the sound of Watertown that was unmistakably Mando, the move naturally gave the album a more engineered sound, “The second record was more heavily produced, and being in Nashville, I had completely different songwriting influences.”

Saenz’ last release, 2013’s Studebaker, took notes from both. The album was named as one of Chron’s “50 Great Texas Singer-Songwriter Albums”, alongside classics like Guy Clark’s Old No. 1 and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. The 12-track album, produced by Mark Nevers (Lambchop, Bobby Bare, Jr., Andrew Bird), is Saenz most lengthy project to date in his words, “the most band-driven record”.

Since the release of Studebaker, Saenz has focused on writing and adding to his list of cuts, one of the most recent being “Bad Boy” from Miranda Lambert’s newest album, The Weight of These Wings. He also co-wrote Jack Ingram’s “Midnight Motel”, Aubrie Sellers’ title track from her newest record, “People Talking”. He’s also co-written and associate produced two Stoney LaRue projects with Frank Liddell, Velvet (2011) and Aviator (2014).

Currently, Mando is working on his latest project, an EP produced by Grammy-nominated (and original founding member of Wilco) Ken Coomer, that will be the predecessor to the release of his fourth full-length studio album. While the EP is likely to be a mix of originals and his take on obscure covers, Saenz is focused on making the full-length his most versed album to date. “The new record is going to be different, just like the others all differ from each other. I’m drawing from everything I’ve done and everything I’ve learned — but expanding it.”


Boiler (300 words):
Hailing from Texas, Mando Saenz has become one of the most notable songwriters in country music and is establishing a sound uniquely his own. After getting a Master’s degree in Business in San Antonio, he moved to Houston and met his mentor John Egan, who convinced him to quit his long-time job at Whole Foods to solely focus on music. Encouraged by talented peers like Hayes Carll and John Evans, Saenz was discovered by award-winning producer Frank Liddell and became one of the founding artists of Liddell’s joint publishing company and record label, Carnival Music.

Since then, Saenz has had countless cuts, associate produced two albums with Liddell (Stoney LaRue’s 2011 Velvet and 2014 Aviator), and released three of his own. His first being 2005’s Watertown, a Texas-heavy debut produced by John Egan. By 2008, Saenz had made the move closer to Carnival’s headquarters in Nashville and released his sophomore album, Bucket, with Grammy-nominated producer R.S. Field. He released his most recent album, Studebaker, in 2013 with producer Mark Nevers (Lambchop, Bobby Bare, Jr., Andrew Bird). The album was named as one of Chron’s “50 Great Texas Singer-Songwriter Albums”, alongside classics like Guy Clark’s Old No. 1 and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt.


There’s no question as to why he has over 50 cuts from some of today’s biggest artists — including Stoney LaRue, Lee Ann Womack, Jack Ingram, Aubrie Sellers, and “Bad Boy” from Miranda Lambert’s 2016 album, The Weight of These Wings. Currently, Saenz is working on an EP with Grammy-nominated producer and founding member of Wilco, Ken Coomer, that will be the predecessor to his fourth full-length album, which he says will be his most versed album to date. “The new record is going to be different, just like the others all differ from each other. I’m drawing from everything I’ve done and everything I’ve learned — but expanding it.”

Condensed Boiler (175 words):
Hailing from Texas, Mando Saenz has become one of the most notable songwriters in country music and is establishing a sound uniquely his own. There’s no question as to why he has over 50 cuts from some of today’s biggest artists — including Stoney LaRue, Lee Ann Womack, Jack Ingram, Aubrie Sellers, and “Bad Boy” from Miranda Lambert’s 2016 album, The Weight of These Wings. In addition to songwriting, Saenz has associate produced two albums with award-winning producer Frank Liddell (Stoney LaRue’s 2011 Velvet and 2014 Aviator), and released three of his own.

After quitting his job at Whole Foods, Saenz quickly became a staple of the Houston music scene. He was discovered by Liddell and became one of the founding artists publishing company and record label, Carnival Music. He released his debut album, Watertown, in 2015, followed by Bucket (2008), and his most recent release, Studebaker (2013), which was named one of Chron’s “50 Great Texas Singer-Songwriter Albums”. Currently, Saenz is working on an EP with Grammy-nominated producer and founding member of Wilco, Ken Coomer.

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